September 15, 2016       Connecting you with the Minnesota autism community.

A Note from Jonah Weinberg, Executive Director

Each of us faces different life challenges, and whether or not we're on the spectrum, the way we cope with challenges differs for each person. When it comes to challenges in the world of autism, AuSM's goal is to offer you resources and tools to help you identify and overcome obstacles. Whether you're a parent, a person on the spectrum, an educator, or other professional, we want to help ensure you experience more good days than bad days. 

We are pleased to offer you dozens of educational opportunities over the coming months, beginning with an amazing (nearly sold out!) workshop presented by internationally recognized professor, researcher, and autism expert, Dr. Tony Attwood. His Oct. 19 workshop is titled An Aspie's Guide to Life's Challenges: Unlocking Tools for Resilience in a Complex World. I encourage you to register today before the limited space reservations are filled.

In addition to the upcoming day with Tony Attwood, we have several other educational opportunities this fall. On Nov. 12, AuSM will co-present a FREE workshop, Navigating Mental Health, School, and Social Safety with the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota. Also, in November, AuSM will present a workshop for parents, caregivers, and educators titled Social Safety: Strategies for Navigating Online and Offline in both Duluth and St. Cloud. And, back by popular demand, Mark Coppin will offer Tech Tools and Apps for Students and Adults with Autism on Dec. 2. AuSM also will host numerous AuSM Skillshops, trainings, and social skills classes throughout the year.

While it's inevitable that we'll face challenges in our lives, no one should have to face them alone. AuSM is proud to be your partner and guide, as we work together to power forward and carry on.

Have an AuSM day!

AuSM Executive Director
Seats are filling quickly for Professor Tony Attwood's October workshop
A limited number of tickets remain for Professor Tony Attwood's full-day fall workshop event on Oct. 19: "An Aspie's Guide to Life's Challenges: Unlocking Tools for Resilience in a Complex World". Join AuSM for this rare opportunity to learn from world-renowned speaker and autism expert, Tony Attwood, who will share his insights and strategies for navigating emotions, adolescence, relationships, and employment. 

Oct. 19, 2016

8:30 a.m.-4 p.m.

Schulze Grand Atrium
University of St. Thomas School of Law
Minneapolis Campus 

Cost (lunch is included)
AuSM Member: $85

Non-Member: $115

Individual with ASD: $65

Student: $75

Navigating Mental Health, School, and Social Safety Workshop 
with the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota 
AuSM and the Epilepsy Foundation of Minnesota (EFMN) are partnering to offer a free workshop along with resources for parents and caregivers of children with special needs. "Navigating Mental Health, School, and Social Safety". EFMN's presenters, Michael Zaccariello, PhD, LP and Katherine Nickels, MD, will speak about "Maximizing the Learning Potential". Participants will learn about specific learning disorders and how epilepsy and medications affect learning. AuSM presenter, Sara Pahl, MS, BCBA, NCC, will present "Social Safety: Strategies for Navigating Online and Offline", which will include a discussion about navigating the hidden curriculum, bullying, and online safety. The free half-day workshop includes lunch. Registration is required and space is limited to 120 participants.

Saturday, Nov. 12, 2016

8:30 a.m.-1 p.m.

Wilder Center

451 Lexington Pkwy. N.

St. Paul, MN 55104

Cost (lunch is included)

AuSM Workshops on location in St. Cloud and Duluth in November 
To fulfill our goal of offering increased autism resources throughout Minnesota, Sara Pahl, MS, BCBA, NCC, will present Social Safety: Strategies for Navigating Online and Offline in St. Cloud and Duluth this fall. The St. Cloud workshop is made possible in part by a grant from Voigt's Bus Companies and both workshops are supported in part by the Cub Cares Community Foundation.

Social Safety: Strategies for Navigating Online and Offline
As parents, caregivers, educators, and providers, we often are concerned for the physical safety of our children. But, as children advance into elementary and middle school, we find ourselves asking, "How can I keep them safe emotionally?" In this workshop, learn about the most important issues of social and emotional safety for pre-teens and teens. Common challenges will be discussed and strategies offered regarding navigating the hidden curriculum, bullying, and online safety.

About Sara Pahl
An AuSM therapist, Pahl has worked with people with ASD for nearly 20 years. She specializes in working with systems, such as families and schools struggling with behavioral issues, as well as working with adolescents and young adults with ASD. Pahl strives to help empower, children, adolescents and young adults with ASD through self-advocacy and self-determination, no matter what ability, using a non-judgmental, integrated, empathetic, evidenced-based approach. 

Saturday, Nov. 5, 2016
9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Lake Superior College
2101 Trinity Rd.
Duluth, MN 55811

AuSM Member: $35
Non-Member: $40
Individual with ASD: $10


Saturday, Nov. 19, 2016
9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Calvary Community Church
1200 Roosevelt Rd. 
St. Cloud, MN 56301

AuSM Member: $35
Non-Member: $40
Individual with ASD: $10


December 2, 2016 AuSM Workshop
Tech Tools and Apps for Students and Adults with Autism
iPads and tablets provide a wealth of possibilities for people with varying needs, including those with autism. During this innovative workshop, participate in hands-on activities on the iPad while learning about apps for communication, organization, planning, storytelling, reading, writing, behavioral support, and much more. Discover how these solutions can make a difference for youth and adults with autism. At the end of the session, you will have a better understanding of apps, device management, and available accessories.

About the Presenter
This workshop will be presented by Mark Coppin, MS, the Director of Assistive Technology at the Anne Carlsen Center in Jamestown, ND. He has presented at state, regional, national, and international conferences on topics including technology and teaching, special education, assistive technology, mobile devices in education, and autism. 

Friday, Dec. 2, 2016

8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Royal Cliff Banquet & Conference Center
2280 Cliff Rd.
Eagan, MN 55122 

Cost (includes lunch)
AuSM Member: $75
Non-Member: $95
Individual with Autism: $55
(A group rate is available for 10 or more participants from the same organization. For the group rate, contact AuSM at 651.647.1083 ext. 19.)

AuSM welcomes education programs manager and receptionist
We are pleased to welcome new AuSM staff members, Chet Tschetter and Jillian Nelson.
Chet Tschetter, Education Program Manager
Chet Tschetter
Chet Tschetter has been working in the disabilities community for more than 15 years. She has extensive leadership experience in special needs camps and residential services and has worked as an Employment Consultant and Post Secondary Navigator supporting individuals on the spectrum. Chet is a graduate from Northern State College with a degree in Elementary Education, and is the author of 101 Tips for Supporting Campers with Autism. As Education Programs Manager, Chet oversees social skills programs, AuSM Skillshops, trainings, the AuSM ASD Direct Support Certification program, and the Life with Autism Series.

"Providing education to the public regarding autism is critical to the community," Chet said. "I am happy to be a part of this sharing of information. I enjoy supporting the autism community with opportunities to learn and be better understood."

Jillian Nelson, Receptionist
Jillian Nelson
As you're welcomed when you walk through AuSM's door, you may recognize Jillian as an instructor from our ComedySportz Improv social skills class or perhaps you've seen her volunteering at AuSM, helping get the office organized and more. Jillian comes to us from Autism Works, where she was an Employment Consultant, and she also happens to be an adult on the spectrum. 

"I was diagnosed 13 years ago with Asperger's syndrome and have made it my mission to help others on the spectrum and change the perception of how society sees autism," Jillian said. "I love being surrounded by others on the spectrum and I am not even sure there is a word to fully describe how happy I am to be here! Coming to work feels like coming home."

Let's Play Unified
FREE Fall Fun Day 2016 - THIS WEEKEND!
Special Olympics Minnesota, the Autism Society of Minnesota, and the Minneapolis Police invite you to a fall fun day for communities serving children with autism. Families will have the opportunity to meet other families affected by autism, build relationships with local emergency responders, try a new sport with Special Olympics Minnesota, and access autism resources from the Autism Society of Minnesota. Activities will be set up and staffed to accommodate children with autism and their siblings, ages 6 and up. This event is free, but registration is required.

Saturday, September 17, 2016 from 1-5 p.m.
Minneapolis Police Special Operations Center 

4119 Dupont Ave.

North Minneapolis, MN 55412

Exercise Your Right to Vote
The voting season is upon us, and Minnesota residents who are 18 and older have the right to vote. Learn about the voting process when you join AuSM for a FREE voting workshop from 6-7 p.m. on Sept. 22. Lead by Cindy Jarvi from the Minnesota Disability Law Center, workshop topics will include: eligibility requirements, registering to vote, how voting works, and accessibility.

Second Saturdays at TPT: Anti-Bullying
On Oct. 8 from 9-10 a.m., meet Arthur; enjoy some coffee, juice, and snacks; play in the park; and watch PBS Kids on the big screen. Location: 172 4th St. E., St. Paul, MN 55101. Cost: Free; registration is required and space is limited.

AuSM Pumpkin Patch Trolley
October 15, 2016

10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.

Minnesota Streetcar Museum

Linden Hill Station 

Queen Ave. S. and W. 42nd St. 

Minneapolis, MN 55410

AuSM and the Minnesota Streetcar Museum invite you to experience the thrill of riding a trolley, spend some time with Minnesota autism community friends, and pick a perfect pumpkin during this fun October event for individuals and families affected by autism.
Join us for a fun ride along the rails, including a stop where you will be able to select a pumpkin to take home. The first trolley charter will leave the station at 10:30 a.m. and the final charter will roll back to the station at 12 p.m. Cost: $5 per family. Registration is required. Space is limited.

AuSM Social Skills Classes
Now is a great time to register for AuSM's fall social skills classes. Click on the links below for more information on or to register for a selected class. Registration for winter and spring classes also is open.

Fall classes begin next weekend.

Have you seen AuSM's newest education catalog? Click here to view the complete catalog.

FALL 2016
NEW! Beyond Sex Ed: Bodies, Boundaries, and Healthy Relationships  
For individuals with autism, sexual education is more complicated than the birds and the bees. In AuSM's Beyond Sex Ed course, students ages 13-18 will learn how to manage privacy, boundaries, and infatuations to help them live healthy, create positive relationships, and be safe. Topics will include puberty, private versus public, unwanted affection, intimacy and dating, body boundaries, and consent. Instructors will tackle nuanced and complex issues by building upon more simple, concrete concepts.

Prior to registering for Beyond Sex Ed, we strongly encourage parents/caregivers to attend an orientation to learn more about the class and to determine if it is the right fit for their child. Registration for the class will open after the orientation session.

Parent/Caregiver Orientation

Monday, Oct. 17 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at AuSM 

Conference Call for Papers open now through Nov. 14, 2016
The Call for Papers for the 22nd Annual Minnesota Autism Conference is open now through Nov. 14, 2016. AuSM is opening the Call for Papers process earlier than usual to allow more time for submissions. The deadline also has been moved up to November instead of January so the conference schedule can be made available in early 2017. Submit your proposal to present during this largest annual educational event for the Minnesota autism community. The Minnesota Autism Conference Education Committee will evaluate proposals and contact those who submit proposals by Dec. 20, 2016. Click here to download, complete, and submit the Call for Papers 2017 proposal form.

To assist with education budgeting, conference rates will be listed on the AuSM website soon.
WINTER Autism Direct Support Certification
AuSM's Autism Direct Support Certification Program is designed for professionals who work with individuals with autism or who want to better provide service to those with autism spectrum disorder. This in-depth, 15-hour course will give practical solutions for working with people on the spectrum. 

Who should participate?
  • Job Coaches
  • Support Staff
  • Personal Care Attendants (PCAs)
  • EIDBI Tier 3 Providers
  • Educational Aides
  • Direct Support Personnel
  • Group Home Staff
  • Day Training and Habilitation Professionals
  • Anyone who works directly with individuals with autism
Winter 2017 Session 


Jan. 21, 28, 2017 from 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
and Feb. 4, 2017 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

ALSO: A few openings remain in the fall AuSM Autism Direct Support Certification class. Fall certification classes begin TOMORROW at 8:30 a.m. and are instructed over five Friday mornings. If you'd like to take the fall class, please click on the below link and register TODAY.

AuSM Skillshops

Sept. 20, 2016

Autism and Anxiety in Adults

Presenter: Barb Luskin, PhD, LP
Date: Tuesday, Sept. 20 from 7-9 p.m.

Location: Merrick, Inc.

It's common for adults with autism to have anxiety and/or depression. Learn how to cope with stressors and gather resources for reducing anxiety.


Oct. 16, 2016

Special Needs & Special Sibs: A Family AuSM Skillshop
Presenter: Jen Reinke, PhD, LAMFT, CFLE 

Date: Sunday, Oct. 16, 2016 from 2-4 p.m. 

Location: Eden Prairie Community Center, Cambria Room

"Autism doesn't just affect my kid, it affects our whole family," a mother of an 8-year-old child with autism said. Explore the unique challenges, rewards, and dynamics experienced by families impacted by a variety of special needs. Special emphasis will be placed on the experiences and needs of siblings (ages 10+) who have a brother or sister with special needs.


Oct. 25, 2016

Accommodations & Modifications: Navigating the IEP or 504 Plan
Presenter: Mary Beth Kelley, MA 

Date: Oct. 25, 2016 from 7-9 p.m. 

Location: Fraser, Eden Prairie

Staff often have to create accommodations or modifications for students they are working with at school, or parents want to suggest accommodations for their child, but the terms can be confusing. Review definitions and differences of frequently used terms and gather examples of specific accommodations and modifications. Obtain a framework to help brainstorm new ways to assist students in the classroom.


Nov. 8: Guardianship: Do We Need It?
Nov. 15: Working with Autism: Four Helpful Hacks and One Golden Ticket
Dec. 8: Driven to Drive: Getting Behind the Wheel

Therapy and Support
With more than 80 years of combined experience with individuals with autism, AuSM's team of highly trained and licensed therapists wants you to feel comfortable and knowledgeable as we undertake this journey together, striving for positive, individual-focused goals. 

AuSM sends out a monthly "Ask the Therapist" e-mail where AuSM's therapists answer questions submitted by the Minnesota autism community. Click here to read the "Ask the Therapist" archive. To submit a question, e-mail

Information and Resources

Uniting the Community Events and Fundraisers
In partnership with area businesses and organizations, AuSM is pleased to offer monthly opportunities for families and individuals with autism to come together and enjoy fun activities in supportive, welcoming environments. 

Autism Society of Minnesota | 651.647.1083 | |

Established in 1971, the Autism Society of Minnesota (AuSM) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization committed to education, advocacy and support designed to enhance the lives of those affected by autism from birth through retirement. AuSM does not sell or share the contact information of our members, volunteers, donors or supporters.

Autism Society of Minnesota, 2380 Wycliff St. #102, St. Paul, MN 55114


Autism Society of Minnesota | 2380 Wycliff St. #102 | St. Paul | MN | 55114